Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Disturb Us, Lord

I was scouring the internet for Advent poems and quotes when I happened upon this quotation. It is a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake, the famous 16th century explorer. While Drake’s personal life and career seem far from the ideals of Christian living, his experiences circumnavigating the globe give credit to his view of God.

In any case, I thought it an appropriate stopping point on this Advent journey:

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

This first week of Advent, we light the candle of expectation. Expectation takes so many forms. We can expect something concrete, like a birthday present. But we can also wait expectantly for something just beyond our imaginations—a change in direction, an open or closed door. What Drake describes here is hardly what any of us would “expect,” yet it can be a result of our expectation.

As demonstrated in yesterday’s post, the image of light is very powerful to me. I often pray, “Lord, please shed light on this.” But would I ever think to pray, “Lord, please disturb me”? A friend of mine was recently praying out loud for a mutual friend, and he asked God to both open the doors that no one else could open, and also to close the doors that no one else could close. It stopped me in my tracks. I seek blessings and answers, and peace and rest, but what really sits in the way of all that is my sin. And as hard as I try, I can’t make that go away. Only God can do that. And only His son Jesus, did do that.

But before Jesus was old enough (in human years) to lay down his life, he came as an unassuming child. This prayer made me wonder about those who were waiting for something . . . anything, in that time before God sent Jesus to earth. What were they expecting? Did the little baby Jesus fulfill any of those expectations? I think the answer is an emphatic, “No.”  But God disturbed the world with a baby’s cry. He prepped us a bit by causing an old man to go mute, a small-town scandal,  a census-based migration, a thrilling choir of angels, and a super bright star—but the real curve-ball was the incarnation. When God became a man.

1 comment:

  1. I had not heard that poem before. I'm going to write it down. It paints an interesting picture. His ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts


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